After the death of Nobunaga in 1582, his top general became the ruler in Japan. This general’s name was Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The Emperor was the official ruler, but Toyotomi Hideyoshi controlled all the day to day business of the nation, while the Emperor fulfilled a more ceremonial role.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was able to force all the Daimyos throughout Japan to swear loyalty to him. He then enforced a number of new laws that were intended to keep the peasants from rising up in rebellion against him.
One of these laws was known as €˜the great sword hunt’. Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered all peasants to turn in their weapons, and forbade them from creating new weapons.